Palm Stock Jumps with News of Harbinger Stake

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2010-04-16
 
 
 

Shares of Palm jumped as much as 20 percent between April 14 and 16 after news broke that Harbinger Capital owned a 9.48 percent stake in the faltering smartphone maker.
 
Harbinger is owned by the highly successful hedge-fund billionaire Philip Falcone. In 2008, Falcone became a particularly prominent figure on the financial scene after properly betting that the U.S. housing market bubble would burst.
 
That year, Falcone was also named the 163rd richest American by Forbes magazine.
 
On April 14, Palm's stock closed at $5.32, and in the 10 a.m. hour of April 16 was at $5.66, up 4.81 percent.
 
On April 11, Reuters reported that Palm was interested in being purchased, and that Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners had been hired to help it find a proper match.
 
Handset maker HTC has been said to be interested in discussions about purchasing Palm, and analysts have additionally named Motorola, Research In Motion, Nokia, and Chinese manufacturers ZTE and Huawei as potential purchasers, for reasons varying from Palm's U.S. market positioning to its patent portfolio and much-complimented webOS platform.  
 
The HTC name has remained at the top of analyst and investor lists, however, particularly after HTC made it known that it is considering equipping its mobile phones with a mobile OS of its own instead of offering operating systems from Google and Microsoft.
 
Rivals Apple and RIM are particularly strong examples of manufacturers that have found enormous success in offering both proprietary hardware and software.
 
Still, the purchase could potentially complicate things for HTC before it simplifies them.
 
"If HTC were to purchase or merge with Palm, that would give HTC control of an off-the-shelf, Internet-centric operating system in the form of webOS," analyst Neil Mawston, with Strategy Analytics, told eWEEK. "However, HTC's OS portfolio is starting to sprawl, and it remains to be seen whether such a niche player could continue to effectively support Windows, Android, BREW and webOS all at the same time. We believe supporting multiple operating systems could become a logistical and financial challenge and HTC will eventually need to trim back its OS portfolio."


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